The long winter has come for the New York Giants says George R.R. Martin following OBJ trade

Game of Thrones creator and New York Giants super fan George R. R. Martin detests the Giant's trade of Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon.

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [
CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

In a blog post, Martin -- finding yet another distraction from finishing his wildly popular "Song of Ice and Fire" series that inspired HBO's cultural phenomenon "Game of Thrones" -- outright accused the Giants of tanking and let them know that he does not care for it.

Martin's whimsically-titled blog post entitled "kill me now," labels OBJ as the best Giant's receiver ever and notes that along with trading away OBJ, the Giants have lost their best pass rusher (Vernon), their best run-stuffer ("snacks" Harrison) and their all pro safety (Landon Collins) this off-season.

Martin acknowledges that the Giants might be stockpiling picks to move up in the draft to get a quarterback to succeed Eli Manning, but cautions that he feels sorry for that guy, who will be playing on an "awful team."

The first-level reaction to this story is another "feel good" vibe for the Browns -- another reinforcement of the level of transformation that Dorsey is accomplishing where the Browns are thought of as big winners at the expense of other franchises for a change. 

The deeper theme -- and one that Martin is missing -- is that the Giants are operating in the "new era" NFL.    Like we saw in baseball with "money ball," we will start to see more and more teams follow the Browns' team-building model that has been underway since the Browns fielded an old and expensive non-competitive team in 2015.

One important rule change that has occurred in the NFL is that the rookie salary cap has brought rookie salaries into line.   That means that when a team drafts a quarterback with the first pick (say, like Tim Couch) or a pass rusher with the first pick (say, like Courtney Brown), they don't immediately start paying that guy like a top 5 player at his position without regard to his production.  This is a huge advantage to drafting a franchise-type quarterback early in the draft.    If a team hits on its quarterback selection, it has a 3-4 year window where it can spend like mad on other positions and create a competitive advantage.    In recent years, we've seen this with the Rams and Eagles.   We are seeing it now with the Bears and the Browns and even to some degree with the Jets and Bills.

The second change is the successful blending of college spread offense concepts that enable young quarterbacks to be more successful early and which allow them to grow into the position.   Kyle Shanahan began this trend with RG3, and it continues its evolution with guys like Pederson, McVay, O'Brien and now Kitchens.  Teams do not need to wait 2-3 years to develop the young quarterback -- they are quickly ready to roll.

The third change is that teams are now permitted to stockpile salary cap money year to year.   So it makes much more sense to strip your team down to collect draft assets, attempt to find a young core of capable players in your draft picks employing trial by fire and "going for it" once a young franchise QB is in place and significant assets have been collected and cap room stockpiled.

Dorsey, for instance, has done a great job in the current phase of the Browns' plan.  If a comparison is drawn to Martin's fictional world, however, he came in with all the backing of the Iron Bank -- a virtual blank check of money under the cap to spend and draft picks to execute.   It is why Dorsey can afford to take on salaries like OBJ's, where other teams simply could not afford to consider the transaction. 

My guess is that if Martin allowed himself to think like Tyrion Lannister on this one, he would see the wisdom in the Giants' long-game strategy.  With all their talent walking out the door, the Giants' are coming off a five-win season and are one year removed from having the second pick in the draft.  They were over 10 games below the .500 mark over OBJ's career with the team.  As they sat this offseason, the Giants were light years away from competing for another Superbowl.  With Eli, they were just good enough it seems to guarantee that they would not get their pick of quarterbacks coming out of the 2020 draft organically.  Maybe Darnold was that guy, but that ship has sailed.

To compete again, the Giants need to find their dragon and build the rest around him.   The Browns believe they have found theirs, and have created a dragon's hoard of treasure to boot.

At Martin's age, perhaps he should just become a Brown's fan.
The long winter has come for the New York Giants says George R.R. Martin following OBJ trade The long winter has come for the New York Giants says George R.R. Martin following OBJ trade Reviewed by AT Dawgger on 10:57 AM Rating: 5
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